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Ngo Mbog v Whitbread Group Plc - "Substance of complaint" in statutory dispute procedures must not be narrowly construed [2010] EAT

Under the now revoked statutory dispute procedures, a reasonable belief that, when the standard time limits expired, a disciplinary procedure was ongoing in respect of the substance of the tribunal complaint, will trigger a time limit extension. This case makes clear that the phrase "substance of the complaint" should be generously interpreted to mean "the substantial factual matrix of the complaint" rather than simply the actual cause of action relied upon.  

Ms Mbog was dismissed for alleged gross misconduct. Her employment ended on 30 January 2008. By way of an ET1 presented on 30 April 2008, she claimed at employment tribunal that she had suffered unfair dismissal; her claim was one day late in terms of the standard three month time limit. A second ET1 on 27 June 2008 claimed that the dismissal was an act of race discrimination. Although an employment judge (EJ) allowed the race discrimination claim to proceed, the unfair dismissal claim was dismissed - Ms Mbog could not show that it was not "reasonably practicable" to have presented the claim in time.

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